For now, summer school is set for late May and early June and the new school year will start Aug. 24, the Salem R-80 school board was told Thursday night. But those dates are subject to change due to the COVID-19 crisis gripping the nation.

Superintendent John McColloch said current plans are to run summer school from May 18 to June 5, a total of 14 days, for grades K-6.

“But we just found out today that the state has cancelled all testing for this year,” he said. “Some other states have shut down school for the remainder of the year. That’s very much a possibility here.”

If that happens, there will likely be no summer school, he said, or if the year’s extended, summer school will be at a later date.

Due to health concerns, R-80 cancelled classes starting March 18 with a tentative return date of April 6, pending further action at the state or local level. All Missouri school districts have cancelled classes at least temporarily.

The board approved a 2020-21 school calendar Thursday night that begins Aug 24 and runs through May 14. McColloch discussed the calendar last month, but wanted to meet with the faculty calendar committee before bringing it back for board action. The committee overwhelmingly favored extending the school day by 15 minutes to move the dismissal date up to May 14 from May 25, 2021, he said.

The year would run 166 days or 1,104.15 hours. The state requires 1,104 hours of instruction, including 1,044 regular hours and 60 makeup hours. Extending each day shortens the calendar by seven school days.

“This is all subject to what might happen at the state level with COVID- 19 and the decisions being made,” McColloch told the board.

The late start is due to tourism-fueled bill passed by the state legislature last year that pushed the starting date back to no more than 10 days before Labor Day.

For more details, see next week's issue of The Salem News.